Léonard H. J. Legault
1997 Read Medal Recipient
O.C., Q.C., B.A. (Sask.), LL.B. (Sask.)
It is with regret that we have learned that one of the giants of International Law in Canada, Leonard Legault, passed away last week. A funeral mass will be held at the Annunciation of the Lord Church, 2414 Ogilvie Road, on Wednesday, March 22nd, at 11:00 a.m.
Léonard joined the Department of External Affairs in 1961and served in Ottawa, Warsaw, New Delhi and Geneva (1962-73). He served as the Director General of the Legal Bureau and Legal Advisor for the Department of External Affairs (1979-80) and was Assistant Deputy Minister (1986) Mr. Legault served as Director General of the International Fisheries and Marine Directorate (1973-77). He has served as Canada's Ambassador and High Commissioner to Nigeria, Sierra Leone and the Holy See, as Deputy Advisor at the Embassy in Washington and as Ambassador and as Agent for Canada before the International Court of Justice in the Gulf of Maine boundary case, Canada-US, (1982-84). Mr. Legault has represented Canada in numerous international negotiations, including as Co-ordinator for External Affairs during the Free Trade Agreement negotiations (1990-93), as the Canadian Representative to the UN Commission on Human Rights, Geneva (1994-97), as the Chairman of the Canadian Section of the International Joint Commission (1997-01) and as a Member in the arbitration between Newfoundland & Labrador and Nova Scotia concerning the limits of their offshore areas (2001-2002). He received the Public Service of Canada Merit Award in 1978 and became an Officer of the Order of Canada (1987).
Excerpt from a speech by Governor General at a reception for the Canadian Council on International Law held at Rideau Hall on Thursday, October 16, 1997:
I hope you will forgive a passing mention of Leonard Legault, one of those you will honour with this year's Read Medal. I won't go into details about his work in pushing the two-hundred mile limits for Canada and the world, and in winning our Atlantic boundary settlements with the United States and France. I will just say that in my opinion we are a bigger country today, in terms of territory and in terms of justice, because of Leonard Legault.
CCIL would like to acknowledge his contribution to International Law in Canada by providing a forum for people to write tributes.
The Gulf of Maine team, International Court of Justice, 1984
Leonard is front and centre (5th from the left) and pictured with Ian Brownlie, Derek Bowett, Prosper Weil, Yves Fortier, Don McRae, Ron Saint John MacDonald, Justice Ian Binnie, Alan Willis, and others.